What Is the Stack in Card Games?

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By Ralph Torres

When it comes to card games, the term “stack” refers to a certain portion of the playing cards. Understanding what the stack is and how it works is essential for anyone who wants to play card games, as it can greatly affect gameplay.

What Is the Stack in Card Games?

The stack in card games refers to a collection of cards that are placed face down on the table. The cards in the stack are typically drawn from one or more decks of playing cards and are used during gameplay.

In most card games, players draw cards from the stack on their turn, either to add them to their hand or to play them on the table. The stack can also be used for various other purposes, depending on the game being played.

Types of Stacks

There are several different types of stacks that may be used in card games. Some common examples include:

  • The draw pile: This is a stack of unused cards that players draw from during their turn.
  • The discard pile: This is a stack of cards that have been played and are no longer needed.
  • The stockpile: This is a special type of stack used in some games where players try to collect all of the cards.

How Does It Work?

The way the stack works will depend on the specific game being played. In many cases, players will take turns drawing one or more cards from the top of the draw pile. These cards may then be added to their hand or played on the table.

Once a player has finished their turn, any cards they have played will usually be placed in a discard pile beside the draw pile. Other players will then take turns drawing from this same draw pile until it runs out.

In some games, players may need to shuffle or otherwise manipulate the stack during gameplay. For example, in the game of War, players will shuffle their cards and place them face down to create a new stack before each round.


Understanding the stack is essential for anyone who wants to play card games. Whether you’re playing a simple game like Go Fish or a more complex game like Magic: The Gathering, the stack can greatly affect gameplay and strategy.

By familiarizing yourself with the different types of stacks and how they work in various games, you’ll be better equipped to make strategic decisions and outwit your opponents.